Friday, April 01, 2016

GOP nominating rules shortchange rural districts

The rules for choosing the Republican nominee for president, which could prove crucial as a contested convention looks more likely, give disproportionate influence to urban areas and shortchange rural areas, Josh Kraushaar reports for the National Journal.

In most states, many or most of the Republican delegates are allocated by congressional district, so that means urban, liberal districts with relatively few Republicans get as many delegates as rural districts with strong Republican majorities. "It’s the dis­pro­por­tion­ate in­flu­ence of urb­an voters in the Re­pub­lic­an nom­in­a­tion pro­cess that makes it dif­fi­cult for Sen. Ted Cruz to make ser­i­ous head­way against Trump," Kraushaar writes.

Trump has been doing well in liberal areas partly because his "mainly-white sup­port­ers are dis­pro­por­tion­ately con­cen­trated near areas with many minor­it­ies, sug­gest­ing that strained race re­la­tions may have played a role in their back­ing of Trump," Kraushaar reports. "He has won over white Republican voters in rur­al South­ern counties where Afric­an Amer­ic­ans make up a ma­jor­ity of the vote, and he has per­formed well in urb­an neigh­bor­hoods where the ra­cial com­pos­i­tion of sur­round­ing areas has changed over the years." Also, "Some of the urb­an con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts are ger­ry­mandered in or­der to take a small slice of Re­pub­lic­an sub­urb­an ter­rit­ory along with heav­ily Demo­crat­ic urb­an turf."

The situation is different in Wisconsin, where next Tuesday's primary seems likely to be crucial. "In an upside-down version of a traditional campaign, the Republican front-runner is immensely unpopular in the reddest part of the state—the outer suburbs and exurbs that ring Milwaukee," Craig Gilbert reports for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "The picture is dramatically different at the other end of the state, in the small cities, towns and countryside of northern and western Wisconsin. Here Trump’s favorability score is 'plus 21' among Republicans: 53 percent view him positively and 32 percent view him negatively." (Journal Sentinel graphic; click on it for a larger version)

Trump had an early lead in Wisconsin but now trails Texas Sen. Ted Cruz by about 10 points.

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